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With a lively theater and music scene, multiple nightlife districts, and last call at 4am, Buffalo offers a plethora of options for nightlife seekers up until the wee hours of the morning.
Buffalo's Theater District is anchored by Shea's Performing Arts Center which serves as a venue for many high-profile traveling theatrical shows including The Lion King, Million Dollar Quartet, Wicked, and more. Shea's also features touring comedians such as Jerry Seinfeld, and other traveling acts. The theater district lines Main Street which features a free metro train that will take people down to the sports complexes (NHL Buffalo Sabres, and AAA Baseball Buffalo Bison's) and waterfront.
Adjacent to the theater district is the "Chippewa" entertainment district, considered by most to be the epicenter of nightlife in Buffalo. Chippewa Street or the 'Chip Strip' as it's affectionately known is comprised of over 30 bars, nightclubs, restaurants, and hotels. Start out your night with a unique dining experience at Papaya (Asian-Fusion), Bacchus (Upscale), Buffalo Chophouse (Steak), SeaBar (Sushi), or Bambino (Italian). Be sure to save room for dessert at The Chocolate Bar, a full service martini/dessert bar/restaurant perfect for a sweet after-dinner experience. As the restaurants start to close up, the bars and nightclubs on the street start to come alive. Bars traditionally open at 10pm and close at 4am. Big nights are Thursday through Saturday. Because of the late closing time, the majority of crowds don't come out before midnight, so don't worry if it seems slow around 10pm or 11pm. Some places to check out would be Bottoms Up (party bar serving signature 'fishbowl' cocktails), Buckin' Buffalo (live music/country bar featuring a mechanical bull), Skybar (rooftop bar only open during summer months), Bada Bing (sports bar catering to a slightly more mature crowd), and PURE Nightclub (a 2-story dance club that is the largest in NY State outside of the NYC metro area).
Chippewa tends to draw throngs of trendy twenty-somethings and college students looking to see and be seen. Looking for a more subdued nightlife experience? Just a 5 minute drive north of downtown is "Allentown", a more laidback bar district featuring live music venues, dive bars, and hipster hangouts along Allen Street. Be sure to check out DBGB, Hardware, Frizzy's, and Gabriel's Gate. For the 25 and older crowd, check out Mothers, Scarlet, Fat Bob's, and Snooty Fox, all just off Allen Street. Also on Allen is the center of the gay bar scene (Cathode Ray, Roxy's, etc.)
Moving north from Allen Street along Elmwood Avenue, one enters the Elmwood Village (also knows as the Elmwood Strip) which changes from a window shopping mecca during the day to a thriving nightlife scene at night. Be sure to check out Toro Tapas Bar for late night appetizers and drinks, Cecelia's for martinis and a patio scene, Blue Monk for one of the city's largest selection of imported drafts and obscure beer offerings, and Cole's for another impressive beer selection and vibrant crowd.
Of course Buffalo also has many special nightlife events throughout the year that you should definitely check out if you're in town. Below is a list of some of the biggest and best parties the city has to offer:
- The World's Largest Disco - Annual 70's themed party held at the Buffalo Convention Center downtown. Thousands of people attend, everyone dresses up, and 100% of proceeds go to charity. Always held during Thanksgiving weekend.
- The Buffalo Bar Crawl - One of the largest bar crawls in the world happens twice a year in Buffalo on Chippewa Street. Typically 15-20 bars participate and crawlers pay one price to gain access to all participating bars. Held in late April and mid-September.
- Buffalo M*A*S*H Bash - Now just called 'The Bash' due to copyright issues, this annual summer party is held as a fundraiser for the American Red Cross. Thousands of partygoers dress in army fatigues and feast on food and drinks while listening to DJ's and live bands.
- Cinco de Mayo at Cozumel - Every May 5th, mexican restaurant Cozumel on Elmwood converts its parking lot into a party space and attracts thousands of people for an all-day party.